African Union top security officials have warned that up to 6 000 Africans who fought for the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group in Iraq and Syria could return home.
Speaking on Sunday the official warned African countries of imminent threat following the possibility of the ISIS jihadists returning back into their respective African countries.
Smail Chergui, the AU’s commissioner for peace and security, emphasized that African nations would need to work closely with each other and share intelligence to counter returning militants.
“There are reports of 6 000 African fighters among the 30 000 foreign elements who joined this terrorist group in the Middle East,” Chergui told a meeting in Algiers, according to the Algeria Press Service news agency.
“The return of these elements to Africa poses a serious threat to our national security and stability and requires specific treatment and intense co-operation between African countries,” he said.
Tens of thousands of foreign fighters joined the Sunni extremist group after it seized vast swathes of Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate in 2014.
But the group has suffered a host of losses to both its territory and military capabilities in the last year from US-led coalition. Subsequently and gradually, Iraqi forces have been recapturing and taking control of all territory lost to the jihadists.